BOOM! Box and Steve Jackson Games have joined forces to bring a Munchkin comic book to fans. How good is it? Here’s our take on the book.
Previously in Munchkin: Steve Jackson Games created a tabletop game where you go into dungeons, kill everything you meet, and backstab your friends and steal their stuff. It’s good times. In fact, Major Spoilers even has a podcast based on this game.
WHAT IS IT?
What I like about this first issue is that it not only serves as a primer to let readers know what the card game Munchkin is about, it does it in a humorous way that definitely brought out some laugh out loud moments. Whether it is defining what a munchkin is (role players who max out their stats, play to kill anything, and get as many levels as possible), offer up a pun filled tale that references many items and classes found in the game, or showing what good or bad comes from backstabbing your friends, this issue has it. And it was a lot of fun – and really, isn’t that what a comic reading experience should be?
The issue is broken into four tales set in the theater of the mind of the players around the table, and offers a meta take on the game. Ideally, there will be less of this in the future, and settle down into some kind of storyline (something along the lines of Order of the Stick). This first issue reads like Mad Magazine… and that isn’t a bad thing. The little vignettes offer writers and artists a chance to tell a quick story and get out before a one-shot gag outstays its welcome.
Those who have played Munchkin know John Kovalic has been illustrating the cards in the various sets for years. I can’t think of Munchkin without John’s art popping into my head. Over the years Steve Jackson Games has had other artists provide art for a specific card (Phil Foglio), and recently, artists like Katie Cook have provided the art for an entire booster pack (Love Shark, Baby), and complete sets (Munchkin Axe Cop with art by Ethan Nicolle). Kovalic does provide some of the art for this issue, but the bulk of the book features art from Mile Holmes, and Rian Sygh. Though it feels odd to see someone else doing art in Munchkin, both artists do a fine job and bring the joy of the game to life in the pages of the book.
BOTTOM LINE: GLORIFIED AD?
My biggest concern when first hearing about this book was that it would turn into a giant ad for the game. Though the stories are well told, and are full of humor, there is still a feeling that the end result of this issue is to encourage readers to go an buy the game. Likewise, with over 200,000 Munchkin games out there, this issue also serves as an incentive for munchkins to buy the comic as it includes an exclusive Go Up A Level card that can be found nowhere else. Is this synergy such a terrible thing? In the end I say, “No” simply because the book was a joy to read, the art was fantastic (and I was able to snag a new card to add to our next Munchkin Land podcast episode). A good first outing from BOOM! Studios and Steve Jackson Games, and I look forward seeing what happens in issue #2.